The no-change zone

god-no-changeby J. Randal Matheny, editor

Life changes, sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly. Accidents, divorce, and death rupture routine by tearing at the soul. The slow day-by-day aging sneaks up on us, though no less surely. Children move away. People retire from their professions. They change jobs and relocate to distant cities. Businesses hire, fire, and lay people off.

Change, in whatever form, is a constant, for good or ill.

In the midst of human and worldly change, God is a constant. He does not change. Here are four closely related ways that God shows his consistency.

First, he does not change his word.

To a rebellious people who were resistant to repentance, he said, “I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed” Malachi 3.6 NLT. The NET rightly understands God’s unchanging nature here to apply to his word: “I, the Lord, do not go back on my promises.”

What a relief to know that the Lord will not have changed the terms of his salvation in Christ on the last day! What a joy to see that he still upholds by the power of his word!

Second, God will not change nor attempt any update of the covenant through Christ.

“But Christ became a priest with God’s oath. God said to him, ‘The Lord has made a promise with an oath and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever”’” Hebrews 7.12 ERV.

When God makes an oath, it’s serious stuff. Christ’s priesthood is permanent. This order is irrevocable. Expect no change beyond what God has done in Christ. Salvation in Christ is complete and definitive, v 25.

Third, God does not change the way he works in our lives and how he blesses us.

“All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change” James 1.17 NET.

In his commentary on the book of James, Guy N. Woods wrote that God “is ever constant and unvarying in his attitude toward us, and in his bestowal of good gifts upon us.” Though the phrase has become a commonplace today, it is still truth that “God is good all the time.”

We ought not to question if God has good intentions toward us. He desires our repentance and salvation. We may suffer for our sins, because of the sins of others, or for the sake of the kingdom, but the goodness of God is constant. His goodness is so great that he will use evil for our good, Romans 8.28, just as he did with Christ’s sufferings.

Finally, God does not change the way he gets the gospel to the world.

He did it in the first century through his church and has in every century since. When in the age of miracles, he could have sent angels to share the means and terms of salvation, he instead sent men, according to his eternal plan: Phillip to the eunuch, Acts 8; Ananias to Saul, Acts 9; Peter to Cornelius, Acts 10.

The proclamation of God’s saving wisdom to the world “through the church” not only reaches the lost but impacts the spiritual powers of the universe, Ephesians 3.10. He constituted the church as his special people to “proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” 1 Peter 2.9 NET.

The so-called great commission is still in force because Christ will be with his discipled disciplers until he returns: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28.20. That’s a solid promise we can count on today, knowing that God will not change the rules of the new covenant until that time.

No matter the changes around us or within us, we may rest assured that God does not change and, since the coming of Christ into the world, has set his will solidly and firmly as a constant in our lives and for our hope.

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet.

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